It all starts with drawing, doesn't it? Long ago I decided I didn't like graphite, its greasy greyness didn't appeal, and I rarely use it. I like charcoal, and I use various types:
I also like to use various kinds of pencils, mainly Conté brand:
Lately I've been using hard pastels, Conté and Faber-Castell brands, the classic Conté sketching colours (sanguine, bistre, etc.) together with other colurs.
I use some tools for drawing: a plumbline (my gravity detector), a viewfinder, a ruler (for two purposes: most commonly held at arm's length to take measurements which are multiplied by a scale factor and transferred to the drawing in the early stages and also occasionally simply to mark straight lines on the drawing), an eraser shield.